One would not think that driving down country roads in Oakdale would lead to a concert out in the middle of nowhere where they would be entertained by artists like Craig Morgan, Frankie Ballard, and Love and Theft.
But that’s exactly what happened this past weekend, at JH Ranch off 28-Mile Road. The 48-acre ranch owned by Jim Brunk has plenty of room for parking, and on Saturday also hosted a variety of vendors, a food court and RV parking.
The annual Sierra View Music Fest concert, which started several years ago in honor of the late Heidi Brunk, kicked off at 3 p.m. with some local bands including Remedy took the stage and got the party started. Heidi had been a member of Remedy prior to her accidental death.
People from all over trickled into the event when the gates opened with the weather cooperating for the outdoor concert with the sun shining and a light breeze blowing.
There were several vendors on hand like Rustic Beauty, Paparazzi, London Fox, and others offering clothing, purses, scarves, hats, jewelry and more. A food court was set up with tables and chairs where guests enjoyed Taqueria Lagos, Dippin Dots, and Doc’s Q in Pit Stop where they offered up bbq pulled pork, tri tip, and chicken sandwiches.
The terrain is rugged with grassy hills and dirt patches like the pit in front of the stage where attendees got a chance to get up close to the artists and kick up some dust while they danced, cheered, and applauded.
The only seating was in the VIP area where guests were seated at tables and served dinner, and dessert which were included in the ticket price.
In other areas of the locale guests had blankets and chairs set up or they found a ledge to sit on.
There were a few situations that occurred with the sound and loss of power which caused a delay in the performances, but attendees and artists made the most of it.
Love and Theft duo, Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson who are the lead vocals and play guitar, hit the stage while the sun was still out.
“This is a great spot, really nice people and the weather is awesome,” stated Liles about the event after they performed. “Next week we’ll perform with Eric Church and Aaron Lewis; we are always touring, for the past seven years now.”
They got the crowd going with their hits “Angel Eyes” and “Night That You’ll Never Forget,” along with some tracks from their new album “Whiskey on my Breath.”
The duo also brought out McKenna Faith to join them in a couple songs and engage the crowd in a little musical competition.
Two years ago, Frankie Ballard released his first single which took off on the country charts and was the start of his success with his first album “Sunshine and Whiskey.” Touring with Florida Georgia Line, Ballard stopped in Oakdale between shows to entertain his fans in the Central Valley.
“I really enjoy playing small towns,” stated Ballard. “All the people from small towns like this are big country fans too so it is always fun to play for a rowdy crowd and tonight was rowdy.”
Prior to his performance on stage Ballard held a meet and greet with fans and took some pictures.
Ballard is a guitar player as well and showed the audience his skills on stage which had the crowd on its feet and singing along to his hits.
Craig Morgan was the final act and he also did a meet and greet with fans prior to his performance.
His band took the stage and engaged the audience with smoke, lights, and songs that the audience sang and cheered for more.
The annual party in Oakdale has brought a variety of entertainers to the small community for the past seven years and is in honor of the Heidi Brunk Foundation, which presents scholarships to high school students in the area pursuing a career in music.